Allen Parish School Board deadlocks fourth time on superintendent vote

Published 7:59 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Allen Parish School Board once again fell short Wednesday on the five majority votes needed to hire the district’s next school superintendent.

In what was the third meeting in three weeks, board members were unable to break the 4-4 tie between the district’s Child Welfare, Attendance and Transportation Supervisor Kenney Courville of Kinder and Secondary Supervisor of Instruction and Assessment Brad Soileau of Oakdale.

Board members Pete Cavenah, Greg Monceaux, Carolyn Manuel and Kevin Tyler continued to cast their vote for Courville with Sally Moreaux, Cathy Farris, Karen Reed and Carleen Mahfaffey voting for Soileau.

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“We have two candidates with good applications,” Manuel said.

The board will reconvene at 7 p.m. Monday, June 5, to reconsider the applicants and try to elect a new superintendent who will replace current Superintendent Kent Reed who will retire on June 30. Reed has said he will retire whether or not the board has a new superintendent.

Following an hour-long executive session to discuss the merits of the candidates, Board President Kevin Tyler said the board will now take the issue to the public in hopes of helping the board makes its decision.

“We are going to do our diligence to reach out to our constituents and to the community and make this a complete community decision,”  Tyler said. “Hopefully we can break the impasse through those means.

“We have the unfortunate leisure of having two very good candidates,” he continued. “That makes it very difficult.”

Tyler said the public has been patient with the board’s tough decision on seeking the best candidate for the position, but said people are beginning to express their concerns for the board’s impasse.

“There is a bit of patience right now, but it is starting to get louder and we have to try to listen to it and try to move forward as a district the best we can,” Tyler said.

Courville has 48 years with the Allen Parish school district, including serving as a teacher at Kinder Elementary and Kinder High School. He was assistant principal at Kinder High School, where he also served as head baseball coach, school health coordinator and dean of discipline.

He has been the School Board’s child welfare and attendance, transportation and special services supervisor for the past four years.

Soileau has 22 years with the Allen Parish school district serving as principal and assistant principal at Oakdale High School and a teacher at Oakdale Elementary School. He has also served as a high school supervisor, district testing coordinator, Title III Coordinator and supervisor of school counselors for the School Board.

He also served as an education coordinator at the Raymond Labored Correctional Center for one year before returning to the Allen Parish school system.